Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos head coach John Fox stands on the sideline during action against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
John Fox is known for his “Foxisms.”
But there is one that has been tested like no other at this point in the 2014 season.
“Next man up.”
When it comes to the Denver Broncos running backs, it’s been a constant cycle of, “Next man up.” It started with Montee Ball, then Ronnie Hillman with doses of Juwan Thompson and now it’s onto C.J. Anderson.
At some point this stretch has to end and the Broncos can get some sort of consistency from the run game and who carries the ball. For the longest time I’ve shouted for Thompson to get his shot. Over the long run, he’s still the guy for this offense.
For the rest of the season, and the sake of Denver’s and Broncos Country’s sanity, let’s hope that guy is Anderson. If he doesn’t get hurt last preseason, he would have gotten his chance. The way he played demanded that from the coaching staff.
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With Hillman now on the shelf with an ankle injury, this is now Anderson’s chance. He got off to a great start against the Oakland Raiders.
Now he needs to build off that even more. The talk of Ball getting his chance has to stop.
Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase said as much in his weekly news conference with the media at Dove Valley. He said they will continue to ride the hot hand.
At the moment, that’s Anderson.
Until he proves he can’t do the job, or he gets hurt, that’s how it will remain. One would think how he played against the Raiders is a harbinger of things to come from him. It has to help his confidence and make him work even harder through the week.
That’s when players make the most development. It’s a tired cliche, but it’s really true. How you practice is how you play. The Broncos need Anderson to bust his butt even more this week as they prep for the St. Louis Rams. They need him to show them that he can do this.
Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) runs with the ball before scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Prove it on the practice field, but also off the field by studying the playbook and the video. Take the cue of your quarterback. Strive to be the best, and if you get there, strive to be even better.
This is Anderson’s chance to shine and prove to the Broncos he is the man. If he does, Ball serves no purpose to this team – at least this season. It’s time to end this circus and use one guy.
What will help Anderson is an offensive line that can block.
For weeks, since the start of the season for that matter, I’ve been calling for Will Montgomery to replace the terrible Manny Ramirez. That finally happened, and low behold he was an upgrade at the position. Now, just like Anderson, Montgomery needs to build off that.
Unfortunately, Ramirez is still on the field at right guard. But the message has been sent to him and left guard Orlando Franklin: You best get your act together or we’ll bring in Richie Incognito.
With Montgomery and Louis Vasquez at right tackle, they can make up for the awful stench that is Ramirez. The same can be said of Ryan Clady on the left side, if he gets back into form. But the Broncos and that offense need their guards to figure it out.
If they do, that makes Denver a better offense and team. It improves the chances the never ending cycle of running backs ends.
Not to mention it will finally put to sleep that most popular, and overused, of Foxisms.
It’s beyond time we get a new one to try out. And a running back to take the lead.
Let’s hope that guy is Anderson.
Nov 9, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls a play against the Oakland Raiders in the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports